Ben Shepherd to publish ‘everything you wanted to know’ media and advertising book

Thinkerbell’s incoming general manager of media and former CHE Proximity chief media officer, Ben Shepherd, is raising money to fund the publication of his book: Everything you wanted to know about advertising and media but were too afraid to ask.

The book – which he spent more than 250 hours drafting, and is now in the editing stage – is “like a casual coffee where you learn a lot”, according to Shepherd.

Shepherd decided at the end of last year that he wanted to write a book

“At work I get asked a lot of questions,” he said of the not-for-profit endeavour, which he has spent the year writing and anticipates will be printed in October or November, should the fundraiser reach its goal of $10,000.

“It’s something I enjoy and I find a lot of joy in answering them. It’s probably an ego thing, but I’d like to think it’s an altruistic part of my personality that wants to help others. (But it’s really probably an ego thing).”

But too many people ask questions prefaced with ‘This is probably a dumb question, but…’. Shepherd wants to encourage the industry to ask exactly those questions – because they’re often “entirely reasonable” – and he wants to answer them.

“It made me wonder how many people don’t ask questions at all for fear of them being interpreted as ‘dumb’. My hypothesis is, quite a lot of people don’t,” he said.

“Advertising and media would be a better place, in my view, if we asked questions more openly and felt more comfortable with candour. It’s become a place where we are expected to know more, about more things, than ever before … but there is a weird judgement that is either implied or expressed when we demonstrate that there may be something we don’t know that we need help with.”

In the first day of the Pozible campaign, Shepherd has raised $3,495 of his $10,000 target in the form of $35 pledges, which includes a copy of the book and delivery.

“This is not funding to pay for the writing of the book – it’s basically a pre-order to cover the cost of printing and delivery before incurring it,” he explained.

Shepherd set out how each pledge of $35 is broken up: $1.75 for Pozible’s fee, $5 for postage, $19.50 for printing, $1.86 for transport, $2 for admin and logistics, and $5 for graphic design – a total of $35.11 that has been rounded down to $35.

“It isn’t a money making endeavour whatsoever – the book has taken 250 hours plus to write and as you can see above, the economics of it are not particularly favourable to a profit,” Shepherd reiterated.

“300 is the minimum amount required to do a print run. If the pledges exceed the $10,000 amount, then I will print as many book as pledges are received.”

The book covers six topics – media, advertising, effectiveness, strategy, technology, and ‘The Optimist’s Toolkit’ – and is targeted at everyone from graduates, to juniors, to leadership teams and boards that would gain strategic guidance on “critical areas to win advertiser and agency confidence in the future”.


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